Whether you're a die-hard runway connoisseur or fashion novice, all are welcome at a new ASU fashion club on the Downtown Phoenix campus.
Samantha Champa, a sophomore communication major in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts and a co-leader of Custom Made, said the club's motto is, "We want the freaks and the fabulous," because it is inclusive of everyone.
Champa said she hopes the club will help foster friendships while also serving as a safe place for students to share fashion styles and gain confidence with fashion choices.
Lizé Chavez, a first-year communications major and a co-leader of Custom Made, said the club's goal is to inspire other students to be more in touch with themselves through fashion.
“We’re there to support each other and encourage each other to take risks, specifically with fashion,” Chavez said. “We're helping people feel comfortable with who they are and letting them know that it’s ok to stand out and be different.”
Chavez said it’s important to have a safe place for students to talk about fashion, especially in a time where celebrities and social media can create unrealistic expectations of perfection.
“We just wanted a place where people can breathe, relax and (know) it’s ok if you don’t look like them because you’re you,” Chavez said. “That’s the only person you could be because everyone else is already taken.”
Christine Knobel, a faculty associate in the ASU School of Art within the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts who teaches fashion-related courses, said having a safe place for self-expression is essential for students.
Knobel said that clothing can also be considered a costume or a security blanket, which means that it can be difficult to deviate from a specific style.
“This is the time ... to really explore who you are and find out and go through phases," Knobel said. "… And understand and be able to articulate why you’re choosing to do the things you’re doing."
Champa said that even though it can be challenging in college, when students put a little more effort into their choice of clothing, it can help them feel better about themselves, and "give you that extra pep in your step."
She said Custom Made also plans to view fashion-related films and documentaries at the monthly meetings.
Champa said that, in the future, the club hopes to expand meetings to other ASU campuses as well as send representatives to attend Phoenix fashion shows.
"We are a club that you can bring your ideas (to) and no matter what genre, if it's simple or extravagant to the extremes, we'll help you get there," she said. "We'll just be a support group, and we'll come up with ideas and ways to do that."